PLATFORMS: CorVu's Integrated Business Intelligence Suite 4.0 is running on Windows NT 4.0 against a QAD (MFG/PRO) database on a UNIX server.

BACKGROUND: Oberto Sausage Company is the second largest meat snack company in the United States. Oberto is currently converting from an AS/400 environment using BPCS to an NT/UNIX environment using QAD MFG/PRO.

PROBLEM SOLVED: We needed to access business data stored in our Progress database. Prior to the CorVu installation, such activities called for full-time IT department support. We desperately needed a product that would give the user community the ability to run thousands of custom queries and powerful reports. Rather than tie up the IT department with business analysis and custom coding, we required a user-friendly application. Our objective was to create a data warehouse where the users could slice and dice the data without extensive IT involvement.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: CorVu's Integrated Business Intelligence Suite 4.0 provides multidimensional OLAP analysis and reporting against both relational and other data sources. The CorVu solution provides us with a powerful yet easy-to-use solution for both IT and end-user reporting and analysis. CorVu allows the user to view the data down to the detail level. And the product allows us to navigate through the data in a logical fashion. We are able to deliver a solution to the user community with very little IT involvement.

STRENGTHS: CorVu's Integrated Business Intelligence Suite is very easy to use. We feel that the key designers at CorVu really know what they are doing. The product demonstrates their high level of competence and vision. Also, many business intelligence packages in the market do not deliver a good return on investment. We found CorVu's price/performance ratio to be extremely attractive. It delivered the greatest value for the money. Furthermore, since we moved to QAD a year ago, it was important that we use a product with native connectivity to the Progress database. Actually, it was the only solution we could find with the native interface.

WEAKNESSES: While the basic features and use of CorVu are very intuitive, we found it advantageous to invest in preliminary training in order for users to become better acquainted with the full functionality.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We were looking for something that was flexible, that could slice and dice the data in multiple ways and that we could turn over to the user community so that they would not rely on IT for support. We evaluated three other products and discovered that CorVu provided the best total solution. As previously mentioned, CorVu was the only product found that provided a native Progress interface, along with powerful reporting and ad hoc query. In addition, our user community could perform business analysis without the support of the IT department. It's a very powerful tool.

DELIVERABLES: CorVu allowed us to create weekly, monthly and daily sales reports. Since implementation, the users track everything. They track sales dollars by salesperson, by region, by item and class of trade. Currently, we are doing a two-phase project. Initially, we are getting the front end of the business up on QAD and CorVu (customer service, distribution, finance, inventory and purchasing). In November, we are going to implement CorVu to track manufacturing performance, yield rates, efficiency and productivity.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Pre-installation support was great. On occasion, we had difficulty reaching a specific support person immediately. However, CorVu has informed us that they are expanding their professional services department.

DOCUMENTATION: The documentation could use improvement, and we expect the new version 4.0 documentation will be better.

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